This past weekend I paid a visit to Claud & Eleanor's current hometown (and where they'll likely be staying for another three years until Claud finishes his PhD): Natick, Massachusetts. This town has a very un-illustrious history as far as the decimation of the local Native American population is concerned (although really, which U.S. town doesn't?), being the place where Puritan missionary John Eliot "was best known for attempting to preserve the culture (minus the religion) of the Native Americans by putting them in thirteen planned towns where they could continue by their own rule, with Natick as the political and spiritual center." I can practically see the collective shoulder shrug of the wikipedia contributors who penned this entry. It continues, "A school was set up, a government established, and the Indians were encouraged to convert to Christianity. In November, during King Philip's War, the Natick Indians were sent to Deer Island. Many died of disease and cold, and the Indians who survived found their homes destroyed. The Indian village did not fully recover, and the land held in common by the Indian community was slowly sold off to white settlers to cover debts, and, by 1785, most of the Natick Indians had drifted away." Just kinda wandered off, just like that. Huh! Must've just been in the mood for a change of scenery, I guess.
From what I can tell, Natick is now a relatively middle to upper middle class suburban town, peppered with autobody shops, an inexplicably large number of martial arts studios, houses with vinyl siding
and lilac bushes.
It's also home to the BJ's Wholesale Club corporate headquarters, the US Army Soldier Systems Center, and Casey's Diner--one of the last operational ten-stool diners in the US.
The Natick suburbs have a bit of nature to them too--literally steps from Claud & Eleanor's front door is the Tony Anniballi Memorial Park at Pegan Cove. We originally went on a night walk through some of the trails on Saturday evening, which was awesome and kinda spooky. Haven't gone on a night hike in something like a decade! Sunday is when we returned to experience the park in daylight.
It's a beautiful but diminutive nature preserve with a few towering pine trees,
a bit of a mucky stream,
lotsa poison ivy, and bordering the really large Lake Cochituate.
It was a gorgeously sunny day, but extremely windy.
We kept busy the rest of the weekend with gardening, cooking and eating.
The veggie garden plot:
Sugar snap pea sprouts ready for replanting:
The soon to be mother of my soon to be niece:
Flattening seitan cutlets in a pasta press:
Fresh baked bread, before:
Fresh baked bread, after:
Dinner is served:
By the time I grace Natick with my next visit I'll be an aunt!